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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

 -  Drama | Sport  -  8 October 1962 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,632 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 32 critic

A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (short story)
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Title: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Avis Bunnage ...
Mrs. Smith
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Joe Robinson ...
Roach
Dervis Ward ...
Detective
Topsy Jane ...
Julia Foster ...
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Storyline

A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor's prize runner. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

running | tower | money | bakery | runner | See All (228) »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

8 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rebel with a Cause  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British heavy metal group Iron Maiden adapted the story into a song entitled "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner". The song is featured on the album "Somewhere in Time" (1986) See more »

Goofs

When the boys are doing gardening work one character calls another "you mug" (meaning gullible idiot). This is incorrectly recorded in the subtitles as "you muppet" but the word "muppet" - meaning an idiot - was not in use when the film was made. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Colin Smith: Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like.
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Soundtracks

Rhona Roy Dresses (TV Advertisement)
(uncredited)
Music by Johnny Johnston
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User Reviews

 
Black & White rules!
6 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw the last few minutes of this flick on Tyne Tees telly a couple of years after its theater rounds. In that part of England in those days there was only subsequent run at the Odeon, ABC and Majestic and I never got the chance to see it on a big screen. I can always hope.

I also remember the lurid cover on the paperback as it sat on the rack at Boots alongside Brendan Behan's "Borstal Boy." I had to settle for Mickey Spillane or Ian Fleming instead.

The film is far more gritty than Billy Liar, but Courtenay is identical in both roles in that he has to triumph over adversity in both films. In this role he rejects the life of his father which was subservience to the mill in favor of living large, but not very. In short he aspired to be a spiv just to blend in. But he needs to impress a couple of birds too, and that takes money -- and love of money is the root of all evil.

Then he gets a mini-vacation in a castle stolen by Oliver Cromwell and eventually converted to a government-owned barracks to meet the conveniences of World War II. I have never seen the concrete post with barbed wire any other place than England. In this boot camp styled borstal he has to confront his demons and decide just exactly who he wants to be. The Head has an ax to grind with the local school and naively hopes that sports is the way to channel these boys' anger. Should that fail, there are posters plastering the walls touting a man's life in the army. And that's why this film doesn't waste a scene.

Americans watching this film might have some trouble with an almost extinct dialect, but human nature does not change.

Favorite scenes 1) when he burns the pound note and 2) the romp on the dunes at Skegness.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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